Social Security, A Lifeline for Hundreds of Thousands of Mississippians Turns 80
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President Franklin D. Roosevelt signing the Social Security Act
Blog.Constitution Center.Org

Seventy-six year old Rena Robinson of Jackson, retired after working as a school teacher for 39 years to take care of her ailing mother. She received a small pension, but struggled until she could collect Social Security.

"And I went to the post office to pick it up and I said wow. This will really help me out so I don't have to be so stressed out," said Robinson. 

The Social Security Act, was signed into law August 14, 1935, during the Great Depression. It was supposed to be a supplement. But the American Association of Retired Persons, reports it's now 90 percent of the income for millions of Americans 65 and older, including 31 percent of Mississippians. Ronda Gooden with AARP says it also helps children, spouses and the disabled.

"We found back in 2012, that 50 percent of Social Security beneficiaries in Mississippi, were retirees and 44 percent were not," said Gooden.

The average monthly payment is $1,221, but Mississippi College Professor Glenn Antizzo says by 2033, full benefits won't be sustainable. Baby Boomers are retiring and Congress is using the money too.

"A lot of times, in order to help offset deficit in any particular year. They scoop up that money, use it to pay off some federal bills and leave an IOU," said Antizzo.

Financial Advisors say there used to be seven workers paying for every one retiree, soon there will only be two. Recommendations to shore it up include, raising the retirement age to 68 or 69, increasing the earnings that are taxed, which currently tops out at  $116,000, and reducing the benefits paid.